No parking at KP without heritage panel’s nod

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Feb 2018 09:24:00



Staff Reporter,

Admitting that creation of parking base for VVIP vehicles at historic Kasturchand Park (KP) during recently concluded winter session of Maharashtra Legislature was done without permission of heritage committee, the Protocol officer on Wednesday assured that henceforth the statutory panel would be consulted before finalising such arrangement.

During last hearing the High Court had expressed its displeasure for allowing parking of VVIP vehicles at Kasturchand Park and sought to know as to why parking arrangement was allowed at Kasturchand Park overlooking recommendation of Heritage Panel and wondered whether Chief Protocol Officer of State Legislature could override orders passed by statutory panel.

The High Court, while hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) based on The Hitavada news report about crass commercial exploitation of Kasturchand Park, directed the authorities to ensure scrupulous adherence to statutory
norms and ensure that orders passed by the court to protect KP are not violated.

A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Swapna Joshi also directed State Government and NMC to fill the vacant posts of Heritage Panel and particularly post of Chairperson fell vacant due to death of its chairman- former IAS officer Arun Patankar.

It may be recalled that the High Court had banned all private exhibitions on Kasturchand Park with immediate effect and barring celebrations of Maharashtra Day (May 1), Independence day (August 15) and Republic Day (January 26), the High Court had directed district administration not to allow private organisation to hold exhibitions at Kasturchand Park. The High Court had already directed the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to remove all encroachments in and around Kasturchand Park. The High Court directed Nagpur Police to deploy sufficient manpower to shoo away encroachers and also to step-up vigil to prevent anti socials from misusing sprawling premises for illegal activities.

According to existing norms, such a ground can not be given on rent for more than 45 days in a year and at the most for 12 days in a row. But the ground is used for commercial expos, circus and other non-sports events, the petition prepared by Amicus Curiae Shreerang Bhandarkar has stated citing details from The Hitavada report. The Amicus Curiae also annexed photographs depicting painful journey of Kasturchand Park and urged the High Court to completely ban commercial use of ground and protect it from further vandalisation.